Friday, February 19, 2010

Memorable: Krauser MKM1000

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Quintessential 1980s cool - the BMW R100S-based Krauser MKM1000...

The sportiest bike BMW had in their line-up back in late-1970s was the R100S, which was powered by an old 980cc Boxer-twin that made a paltry 70 horsepower. At that time, the German company was simply unable to meet the demands of enthusiasts who wanted a faster, more powerful and better handling BMW sportsbike. The first of BMW’s K-series bikes, with modern four-cylinder engines, wouldn’t be launched until 1983 and the stock R100S simply wasn’t adequate for the needs of many sportsbike enthusiasts.

With a background in motorcycle sidecar racing and a business built around motorcycle luggage and accessories, it was one Mike Krauser who took it upon himself to build a sportier BMW streetbike – the MKM1000 – which took the R100S to a whole new level. Mike, along with motorcycle development firm HPN, spent close to US$150,000 towards developing the MKM1000, which was ultimately homologated with the TUV for street use in Germany.

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The MKM1000 was based on the 1980 BMW R100S, with a lot of components (wheels, suspension parts, brakes, 40mm Bing carburettors, exhaust system, shaft drive and various other bits) taken from that machine.

With extensive work on the R100S’ air-cooled, two-valves-per-cylinder, 980cc OHV boxer-twin, power output was boosted from 70bhp to 82bhp. Also, the MKM1000 got a completely new tubular space frame that was light, compact and rigid, and increased the bike’s wheelbase by an inch, which led to significant improvements in the handling compared to the standard R100S.

The Krauser MKM also got redesigned bodywork made of fibreglass and styled by one Franz Wiedemann, who had earlier worked on designing fairings for the BMW R100RS and R100RT. The full fairing and one-piece tank/side panels/tail unit look clean and elegant even today, and certainly must have been cutting edge design back in 1980. The bike weighed in at around 218 kilos – reasonably light for its time.

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According to a road test conducted by American magazine Cycle Guide, the Krauser 1000 felt much more refined than the bike it was based on, with reduced engine vibrations, better controlled suspension, slick gearshifts, precise steering and improved high speed stability.

The road test report says the MKM wasn’t very comfortable below speeds of about 130km/h and the suspension was a bit too stiff, but the bike’s overall performance was still pretty impressive. The bike would accelerate from zero to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds (half a second better than a stock R100S), hit a top speed of about 205km/h and at 23.4km/l, even the fuel economy was not bad at all.

The exact number of units built isn’t very clear – probably somewhere between 200 and 240. And the Krauser MKM1000 cost US$16,000 back then, which means it definitely wasn’t very affordable. But we believe this is one of the coolest, rarest, most exclusive BMW specials ever built. We love this bike!

Read full road tests of the Krauser MKM1000 here and here

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A video of the Krauser MKM1000 in racing action...!
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